But, the good news is, I am NOT terribly behind on actually reading the books! This is week 13 of the year and I'm posting on book ten (which I finished over a week ago. Whoops.) and am almost finished with books eleven and twelve. Not bad, eh?
So, let's hop right in there.
Book Ten: Too Much Happiness, Alice Munro
Now, I need to start with a confession. I don't love short stories.
This is a big deal, because, uh, David writes short stories. AND I LOVE HIS! REALLY I DO! THEY ARE EXCELLENT!
But here's my thing. When I read fiction, I like to fall in to what I read. I like to swim in the story, to make friends with the characters, to get taken in by the plot. I love really, really, really long books, and anything in a series. I love the promise of having a story that goes on and on and on and on so that I can indefinitely escape reality. This is also why I love to re-read favorite books. Love. It.
So, short stories are not my favorite because they do not support my (very healthy) desire to escape reality indefinitely. They end too quickly! Just when I'm really into things, it's all OVER. Ugh.
However, I do make a few exceptions for some truly beautiful authors whose writing is SO good that somehow I can enjoy it even though it ends too soon. Short story authors that I heart are David Williamson, Ha Jin, Flannery O'Connor, Tim O'Brian, and of course, Alice Munro.
I've read two other collections by her and enjoyed both of them- Runaway, and Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage. (Awesome title, yes??) This collection did not let me down either.
LIKE: Most of her main characters are women, and excellently written ones at that. Munro writes beautifully about the complexities of relationships and the small, and sometimes unrealized, experiences that define us. She has a knack for zeroing in on things... the best way I can explain it is that I often am reading a story, and I get this thrill because Munro has just defined or described some feeling that I have never been able to isolate and examine, let alone put into words. She's good ya'll. She's real good. My favorite story in this collection was "Child's Play" for that very reason. (Be forewarned though. It's also arguably the most disturbing story in the collection.)
NO LIKE: I already covered my mixed feelings toward the short story. I will leave it at that.
"...even though I might say in passing that people who rain down bombs or burn cities or starve and murder hundreds of people are not generally considered Monsters but are showered with medals and honors, only acts against small numbers being considered shocking and evil."
"Every year when you're a child, you become a different person... For a long while the past drops away from you easily and it would seem automatically, properly. Its scenes don't vanish so much as become irrelevant."
PICTURE OF THE WEEEEEEEEEEK:
This first picture is not really a great picture. It's blurry, the lighting is off, and it's a little overexposed. But it's a Picture of The Week anyway, because even though it's not a great PICTURE, it's a great MOMENT. Everyone was playing together. Nicely. Without me. Sweet Jesus, thank you for these small mercies.
I call it, The Pensive Snacker.